Magnolia Species, Saucer Magnolia, Tulip Tree

Magnolia soulangeana

Family: Magnoliaceae
Genus: Magnolia (mag-NO-lee-a) (Info)
Species: soulangeana (soo-lan-jee-AH-na) (Info)
Synonym:Magnolia x soulangiana



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade




Provides Winter Interest

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


20-30 ft. (6-9 m)


15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)


USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us



Bloom Color:


Medium Purple

White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Flowers are fragrant

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

4.6 to 5.0 (highly acidic)

5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From woody stem cuttings

Scarify seed before sowing

Seed Collecting:

Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Atmore, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama

Dothan, Alabama

Madison, Alabama(2 reports)

Pelham, Alabama

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Vincent, Alabama

Citrus Heights, California

El Cerrito, California

Fairfield, California

Los Angeles, California(2 reports)

Manhattan Beach, California

Modesto, California

Sacramento, California

San Leandro, California

Santa Barbara, California(2 reports)

Whittier, California

Clifton, Colorado

Brooksville, Florida

Destin, Florida

Gainesville, Florida

Graceville, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida(2 reports)

Niceville, Florida

Spring Hill, Florida

Tampa, Florida

Trenton, Florida

Braselton, Georgia

Hawkinsville, Georgia

Marietta, Georgia

Savannah, Georgia

Hawaiian Paradise Park, Hawaii

Keaau, Hawaii

Orchidlands Estates, Hawaii

Troy, Illinois

Newburgh, Indiana

Iowa City, Iowa

Barbourville, Kentucky

Clermont, Kentucky

Frankfort, Kentucky

Georgetown, Kentucky

Lexington, Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky

Mc Dowell, Kentucky

Mount Sterling, Kentucky

Nicholasville, Kentucky

Paris, Kentucky

Saint Charles, Kentucky

Versailles, Kentucky

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Krotz Springs, Louisiana

Mansfield, Louisiana

Marrero, Louisiana

Monroe, Louisiana

Natchitoches, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana

Crownsville, Maryland

Silver Spring, Maryland

Lawrence, Massachusetts

Dearborn Heights, Michigan

Utica, Michigan

Mathiston, Mississippi

O Fallon, Missouri

Fredericton, New Brunswick

Buffalo, New York

Clifton Park, New York

Latham, New York

Medina, New York

Ridgewood, New York

Schenectady, New York

Pittsboro, North Carolina

Winston Salem, North Carolina

Glen Margaret, Nova Scotia

Cleveland, Ohio

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Salem, Oregon

Dillsburg, Pennsylvania

Vandergrift, Pennsylvania

Waverly, Pennsylvania

Conway, South Carolina

Easley, South Carolina

Fort Mill, South Carolina(2 reports)

Summerville, South Carolina

Sumter, South Carolina

Middleton, Tennessee

Watertown, Tennessee

Arlington, Texas

Conroe, Texas

Deer Park, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas

La Porte, Texas

Liberty Hill, Texas

Orange, Texas(2 reports)

Richardson, Texas

Richmond, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Appomattox, Virginia

Clifton Forge, Virginia

Gordonsville, Virginia

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Everett, Washington

Lakewood, Washington

Falling Waters, West Virginia

Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Apr 5, 2021, Cwilliams2 from Hilo, HI wrote:

This will be my tree's 3rd spring. So far, it has bloomed one blossom each spring. It is not growing much but living. I wonder if it is not much better suited for cold climates as it is not thriving so far here on the Big Island of Hawaii at 100ft. elevation on the rainy side. I love the blossoms and wish it would take off. Planted it in the typical planting medium here: 50% 1/4" black cinder, 50% composted mulch. We don't have dirt here so this is what everything is planted in. Almost every plant and tree thrives in this so I wish this one would take off.


On Nov 9, 2020, Beetreeguy from Gordonsville, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

I drive through old downtown neighborhoods in Virginia just to see these old dignitaries blooming in early spring. Their magnificence during that time is more than enough to make me overlook the fact that they're a one-trick pony. The rest of the year, this is a pleasant, but unremarkable, tree. So, given that it's all about the flowers, I'd consider placement carefully. It has a wide growth habit, so give it room. They're slow growers, but can become surprisingly large over time. The "Ann" cultivar is better for small spaces. Magnolias typically don't grow much at all in the first couple of years, while they're developing a good root system. Luckily, they do start blooming when they're small. You can reduce the chance of late frost damage by planting them in morning shade to delay bloomin... read more


On Apr 16, 2018, EveAngeline from Mansfield, LA wrote:

I love these trees but cannot find the old-fashioned type anywhere. The much older ones had larger, very pale pink flowers. The ones in nurseries now have dark purple flowers which are not as pretty to me. There were two very large ones in a front yard next door when I was young. My great aunt always called them tulip trees. A lot of people did because the large unopened blooms looked like tulips. Giegertree was being a jerk!! The older generations called them tulip trees and there's nothing wrong with that. Get over yourselves.


On Mar 12, 2016, Mommo2 from Paris, TX wrote:

They are beautiful most years in Northeast Texas, along the Red River. This year (2016), we had a very early spring and most trees have already bloomed. Ours survived many years without supplemental watering in summer. Saucer magnolia is commonly used for the name, but many of my parents' generation (and I am over 70) call them "tulip trees" --which I see is also a common name in Alabama, North Carolina, and New Jersey :). So they have a long history with our hot, dry summers and erratic spring temperatures.


On Jan 25, 2015, giegertree from Savannah, GA wrote:

Of all the places I've lived (east of the Rockies) and gardened, the ONLY place I've EVER heard the saucer magnolia called a "tulip tree" is by New Jerseyites...

Go back to your annoying state and stop spreading the falsehood that this is "tulip tree" here in the South-- that name is specific to our native yellow poplar or Liriodendron tulipifera.


On Jan 7, 2014, RosemaryK from Lexington, MA (Zone 6a) wrote:

I like to prune the cross branches in late winter or early spring, and then display them in water much as one might do for forsythia. In time the leaves and blossoms that sprout from the fuzzy buds make a fragrant and pretty display.


On Jul 4, 2012, funflower from Fort Mill, SC wrote:

I have a pink magnolia or tulip tree as it is called here in Fort Mill,SC.
It bloomed in the spring, as usual, before any leaves came out. I just looked out and in the upper part of the tree nestled among the green leaves, are pink blooms. It has been 95-104 degrees so why is it blooming again? It did it last year but I thought it was just a fluke!


On Mar 15, 2012, delbertyoung56m from Medina, NY wrote:

I planted my Saucer Magnolia in 2001 and it has slowly grown, with minor pruning each year after it blooms. The tree has never lost its flowers to early blooms/late frosts. It is in my front, side yard on the northside of my home in partial shade. Very few of these trees in Medina, NY, which is a shame, because this tree deserves a wider distribution in any neighborhood.


On Mar 13, 2012, jockamo from Gretna, LA wrote:

Down yonder in Nawleens we call this tree Japanese Magnolia,a rose by any other name,would be called something else~!!!!!


On Mar 12, 2012, Daigon from Villa Rica, GA wrote:

We moved to TN 18 months ago and the property came with two kind of mags. One the Southern Mag, one a Saucer Mag. I have to say both are gorgeous.

The Saucer Mag blooms faster and lasts longer. It is gorgeous and makes what few neighbors (this is a farm) we have envious. I have learned from the UT Dept of Ag how to make cuttings/rootings.

This is going to be sooo cool!


On Mar 12, 2012, timed100 from Buffalo, NY wrote:

I planted my Magnolia x soulangeana at the south west corner of my house maybe 35+ years ago. The spring after planting vandals (kids?) tore off all the flowers, maybe a dozen, and scattered them around the neighborhood. I was furious! It blooms extravagantly every spring and has several dozen during the summer. It is never affected by frost. I once brought some flowers into the house but the fragrance was so overpowering I had to remove them! It is as tall as my 3 story house even after being cut back 6 feet or so in 2 different years. I expect to do some more pruning this summer. A neighbor once gave me a photo he took of it in full bloom because he thought it was so beautiful!


On Mar 22, 2011, loganintheus from Squirrel Hill, MD wrote:

Love our Magnolia. We sit in its deep shade every afternoon throughout summer. Our is flowering less and less each year. It may be as much as 30 years old - since it was planted by a previous owner. Does anyone know what is the expected lifetime of this beautiful tree ?


On Jan 20, 2011, hortulaninobili from St. Louis, MO (Zone 6a) wrote:

Magnolia x soulangeana 'Jane':

I have had a successful draw with this large shrub/small tree now for the better part of a decade. Reliable flowering (and prolific every spring) and have never experience losing flowers from a spring frost. Where this plant is located in a landscape may help minimize damage to flowers from an early spring frost.

Ideally, saucer and stellata magnolias should be planted in a somewhat protected area. I have mine planted on the northwest corner of my house. This ensures the sun does not begin to heat up area too early in spring, prematurely breaking dormancy. I see all the time, magnolias planted facing south (on the south side of a house, for instance) which WILL heat up faster and sooner than a northern exposure in spring, causing... read more


On Dec 4, 2010, Hison from Dillsburg, PA wrote:

I love this plant. I live in an old farmhouse (built around the 1840's) next to an orchard form the early 1800's. I do not know how old the tree is but it is beautiful when blooming or even just with leaves. As I kid I climbed the tree (a vary good beginner climbing tree btw). The Magnolia is easily 40ft and is next to the sidewalk making a picture perfect view each day it blooms when walking to my car or barn. The tree has recently had a main limb cut down because it was hallow, hopefully this does not mean it is the beginning of the end for this beautiful tree.
If anyone has any info on how to date a Magnolia please send me an Email [email protected], Thank you


On Jun 18, 2010, redspqr from Madison, AL wrote:

I purchased a saucer magnolia from my local Home Depot. I was unaware how large it would get, so I will have to transplant it this fall. It is in front of my house in a flower bed (morning shade and afternoon sun). I planted it in late February. Shortly after planting, it bloomed profusely (beautiful purple blooms). In 4 months it has grown considerably and I noticed today among all the beautiful leaves that it has buds that are starting to bloom again! The only things I have done to it was trim some lower branches, Miracle Grow, and the soil I planted it in was one of those "water wise" soils that I mixed with our local clay soil. It gets pretty dry here in the summer (Alabama). I love this tree!


On May 2, 2010, RichGardner from Richardson, TX wrote:

Yes, this plant is an early bloomer, which usually means it gets caught with a late freeze. This is true for every early spring bloomer in the Dallas area.

But this does not take away from the awsome beauty of this plant - it is classified as a bush as it generally is shorter than 20 feet in height at maturity. We have had this tulip magnolia in our yard for over 40 years. It has never suffered from disease or pests. It has survived beautifully thru drought, killer summers (115 degrees +) and late freezes. It loves composted manure, but I haven't been vigilant with the application and it has been growing in the "black prairie" which is very alcaline. My tulip has been growing under a huge white oak all this time and appears to suffer no ill effects.

... read more


On Jun 21, 2009, saya from Heerlen,
Netherlands (Zone 8b) wrote:

I like to give it a neutral rate. But maybe in a better and more suitable climate and in a yard without such limited space I'm sure it will get a more positive rate. In my climate there's a great chance that it will not flower without being damaged by late night frosts. Whenever this happens when it is in flower...ooohhh it looks so sad, ugly..truly a sad looking spring.. and it brings a lot of mess without having any joy to see it in flower. I have a tulip tree in my garden...It has been there when I moved in.. it has been planted by the former inhabitants. Like most Dutch city backyards my space is very limited. I think average space for Dutch city yards is about 50m2..(unless you're lucky and/or rich).. so I'm just lucky to have 200 m2. For that fact I would not have chosen to plant a ... read more


On Apr 14, 2009, purplesun from Krapets,
Bulgaria (Zone 8a) wrote:

I grow my Saucer Magnolia in an acidic, woodland type of soil, and it has been doing admirably. It grows in Sofia, Bulgaria at 2300 feet AMSL.
Has tripled in size since being planted in the ground in 2006, I think. I have never coddled it, apart from a few waterings in the heat of summer. It is in full bloom right now, for the second time in its life, and has somehow escaped being ruined by frost. Its buds open a bit later here because of the high altitude.
The only concern for me is that it is not the small tree that I purchased any longer. It is a quite wide spreading tree, and it can occupy a small garden easily in short time.
Otherwise, this is a justifiably popular flowering tree.


On Mar 9, 2009, therica from Falling Waters, WV (Zone 7a) wrote:

We planted a small 15-inch "tree" in summer 2007, and it's been neglected. Our soil is rather clay-alkaline, as well. It doubled in size in a year, then in fall 2008 a large windstorm ripped it in half. The remaining half rebounded quickly and in December it began to bloom again! No problems whatsoever with blooming, even when it was first planted it put out a few blooms. It's bloomed on and off nearly throughout the year despite a 7a climate, ice and snow storms. Maybe these people who are giving it Negative ratings need to stop trying so hard and just let it find its own way!


On Jul 8, 2008, mbwoody from Waverly, PA (Zone 5b) wrote:

My magnolia in zone 5 Pennsylvania is a magnificent 25' by 25'. I call it positive because although a final frost or hard rain can take the bloom away, there are an equal number of years when we have that perfect sunny spring day and open those windows to watch the flowers and smell that heavenly fragrance. It is worth it.
My tree is protected on 3 sides, is among conifers and is in highly acidic soil at the base of a low hill that stays very wet to moist all year. We do not mow under it, it has a carpet of ground violets, and the summer shade makes it an ideal place to sit. Love this one.


On Jul 7, 2008, Greenhousegirl9 from Palm Bay, FL wrote:

I love this magnolia plant. Its wonderful! I've heard it called Japanese magnolia by the students at my college.

BEWARE: certain people can be allergic-ish to the pollen! symptoms ranged from mild headache, sneezing/runny nose, to watery eyes.

Other than that it is a rather harmless tree with magnificent flowers! They are really nice, very big pink/white flowers that are excellent for picture taking.


On Jul 7, 2008, valzone5 from Mountain Top, PA wrote:

Ours has been planted for about 5 years in the sun, is about 6 foot tall, is growing like a bush also, and has never flowered! We have fertilized it to no avail and are very very disappointed.


On Jan 9, 2008, patticake512 from Clifton Park, NY wrote:

My neighbor has a beautiful tree in her yard. There are many all over this area. There are 3 very old ones where I work that put on a great display every spring! Maybe they need the real cold winters that we have up here in zone 4!


On Dec 12, 2007, NoLawns from Warrenville, IL wrote:

Tree has a great form, and hundreds of beautiful flowers. Why A negative? The tree starts blooming and all of a sudden we have a cold snap. Then you see it the next day the flowers have turned to brown mush. Out of the 18 years of having this tree only 6 winters spared its flowers. It is about 25 Ft. This fall I've noticed huge splits on every main branch and the main trunk. I'll update spring 2008. I think it will bloom and then die.


On May 15, 2007, passiflora_pink from Central, AL (Zone 8a) wrote:

A mature tree blooming in late February is a sight to behold. It really cheers the winter gardener waiting for spring. True it gets nipped sometimes, but nothing says "spring" like a saucer magnolia in full bloom.


On Feb 25, 2007, Lily_love from Central, AL (Zone 7b) wrote:

I've planted these 'Tulip Trees' here in zone 7b. Once they're established they can take up neglect. I planted 3 of these on a property in 80's. 2 under big oaks' shade and one in full sun. The one on full sun is proprtionately bigger and bloomed more profusely. And yes, some year they suffer from late frosts, as it does happen quite often here. But when these gems are in its full blooms. Behold; beauty and pure. The rest of the growing season. It's not too showy, but what can beat the winter blues when Saucer Magnolia are there to shout out "Spring is near".


On Nov 20, 2006, Redkarnelian from Newmarket, ON (Zone 5a) wrote:

In my neighborhood I've watched quite a few of these trees rapidly grow from small pot plantings to large trees (10 years) and they are fabulous! They always bloom profusely right after the last frost and then shower the ground with petals which can wait a bit before being picked up - they're pretty. The leaves are large and bright green - very attractive and distinctive. I've never seen the problems that other posters have indicated. Maybe my hardiness zone is better for them, even though it's colder.


On Feb 24, 2006, escambiaguy from Atmore, AL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I agree with the previous statement about this tree blooming too early. I have even seen them starting to bloom in the fall after shedding its leaves, only to have the frost get them. While the tree may be pretty in bloom, I think its just an ugly tree the rest of the year. The foliage is a light green which always looks like it has chlorosis. Plus, it looks more like a bush than a tree.


On Dec 3, 2005, ineedacupoftea from Denver, CO wrote:

I'm actaully giving this beautiful tree a negative rating because of its propensity to bloom suicidally before the last frost. Years of failure due to late frosts have been written from 1 in five to 1 in 3 years. I would also not give it a negative rating were there not a grand range of new cultivars that bloom just late enough to miss turning into a spring tree of brown rags. But ther are many out there. I do give it credit for being adaptable to extreme, even dry, soils, and being a bloomer at a very young age.

This is a tree for patient and forgiving gardeners unlike myself; dug mine up (gave it away) and supplanted it with a different Magnolia.


On Jul 4, 2004, Pameladragon from Appomattox, VA wrote:

About 10 years ago I found an unusual M. soulangiana, all purple flowers, in a batch of the species. The tree has thrived in central Virginia and will put on a second bloom in late June-July when the tree is fully leafed out. The flowers are dark purple-rose inside and out.

In our climate the early first bloom is usually caught by a frost so the second set of blooms, while not as showey, is very nice.

The tree has grown into a bushy 15 feet, branched to the ground, in ten years from a 3-gallon pot.

Not fragrant.


On Mar 10, 2004, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Saucer magnolia is a beautiful small tree in my yard although I have seen a very large one in the Fort Worth botanical garden.
It blooms in late February in this zone and some years it does freeze while in bloom which damages the flowers and the wood, nevertheless I love it because of the beauty it brings early in the year.


On Aug 6, 2002, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Absolutely stunning in spring, though the flowers don't last as long as one would like. The flowers can be 4-5 inches across and have white to pink coloration from the center outward to the tip of the petal.

Our tree had another tree fall on it just before we moved into our house and, although it has recovered nicely, the shape of the tree will never be the same. It seemed to send up "suckers" from the existing branches.


On Jan 25, 2002, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

The common name "Tulip Tree" is a misnomer. M. soulangiana is a deciduous tree, with beautiful pink blossoms in early spring, before leafing out.

Plant in a protected spot, ideally with partial sun and good air flow to prevent disease. This shrub is a beautiful harbinger of spring in any garden, although the blooming may be sporadic in colder climates, where a late frost is likely.